Government sets out new plans for data protection

Melanie Richardson


Once the UK left the EU, rules surrounding data protection were taken into domestic law virtually unchanged as UK GDPR.  That situation is set to change as the government has published its response to Data: a New Direction, a 2021 consultation on reforms to create “an ambitious, pro growth and innovation friendly data protection regime”.

Why is there a need to reform GDPR?

Government has stated

“…personal data is a huge strategic asset and the driving force of the world’s modern economies. It fuels innovation in businesses large and small, drives scientific discovery and has been a lifeline during the global coronavirus pandemic. This government’s ambition on data is clear; we will establish the UK as the most attractive global data marketplace.”

What are the key changes proposed?

Proposals under consideration include the introduction of a new lawful basis for scientific research, the ability for organisations to come up with their own data transfer mechanisms and the removal of Article 22 which deals with automated decision making, as well as greatly extended governmental control of the UK's ICO. 

What impact might this have on your business?

Plans to reform current UK GDPR (which reflects the EU GDPR), raised fears that these proposed changes would put the UK's EU adequacy decision at risk, creating a future problem for EU-UK data transfers.  Businesses were also concerned that they might lead to an increased rather than a decreased compliance burden on multinationals which would have to comply with an additional regime.

Businesses will need to adapt, possibly running concurrent compliance regimes under UK and EU rules. Government is keen to stress that businesses which are already UK GDPR compliant will not have to make too many changes.

To read the full document click on the link below

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